Durham District Attorney Roger Echols dropped all felony charges against the eight protesters connected with the Confederate statue toppling at their latest court appearance on Jan. 11.
The eight now face three misdemeanor charges, including defacing a public building or monument and injury to real property. Their court date is set for Feb.19.
“Since these outrageous charges were filed against us, thousands upon thousands of people from across the country have called the DA and other city officials demanding the charges be dropped,” Takiyah Thompson, one of the protesters and a student at N.C. Central University, said in a statement. “Dozens of solidarity actions have been held in numerous cities, and the Durham community has not only mobilized to every court appearance, but has continued to tirelessly struggle to topple this racist, white supremacist system.”
Protesters pulled the statue down from its base using a rope on Aug. 14, 2017. A Confederate statue at Duke University was vandalized later that week, and eventually removed.
“It is clear that the courts, the police and other government institutions conspire against the lives of poor people, people of color, queer people and so many more every single day,” Raul Jimenez, another arrestee, said in a statement. “The courts consider ‘injury’ to property of utmost importance; we say the ongoing injury of people’s lives is what really matters.”